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"The Who" - "Rocks the Bay"
...........................................................................................................................7/4/00 Sac

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The Who


....... The Who shook the foundation of the Marysville Amphitheater on Thursday, somehow turning tragedy into triumph in only its third show after Entwistle was found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend decided to soldier on and put a stop to rumors the band's tour would be "50 percent off" with the recent death of bass player John Entwistle. Fans were as undeterred as the band. No one returned tickets, and, in fact, ticket sales spiked after news of Entwistle's death. Astonishing and brilliant, the Who displayed their genius showing that over thirty- plus years of making awesome talented Roger Daltreymusic only gets better. Playing two dozen hits from their 38-year career, the band wowed a capacity audience at the venue and thrashed any doubts about their ability to rock as they near their 60s. Daltrey - tan, fit and swinging his microphone - hit notes with ease, sounding his amazing timbre and range throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show. Guitarist Pete Townshend started his signature windmills on guitar early on and couldn't help smiling as the band weaves an intense instrumental opening to "Eminence Front." Townshend, smashing a guitar, gave the audience a dramatic display of his R&B roots throughout the show, slipping quickly in and out of hits like "5'15," "Who Are You?" and "Can't Explain." Backed by four other musicians including Townshend's younger brother Simon on guitar and Welsh bass player Pino Palladino, the Who did not try to substitute for Entwistle. Subdued and respectful, Palladino - who did well filling in for the late Entwistle's nimble runs and lickety-split fingering - let the two frontmen take the spotlight. An exception was the blistering "5'15," in which Townshend vamped over Palladino's syncopating bottom-end inPete Townshend an exploration far from his usual pentatonic and blues scales. One of several extended solos, it was a tasteful display of Townshend's M.O. to let the song be the star. The concertgoers - which included mainly thirty forty crowd playing air guitar next to couples in their 60s and a mother walking her 2-year-old on the grass as the sun set over the river - were happy with the band's decision to continue the tour. And in the end they lined up to bow to their fans who admired them over the years with blasting fireworks over head to celebrate four of July and for The who playing on and on.

By Randy Cohen


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